By James Fell
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) James Fell takes a look at the experiences of several women who have struggled with weight issues. He points out that just because people have lost weight, it doesn’t make them fair game for commentary on their new shape.
When it comes to judgment of their bodies, women can’t win.
“Research consistently shows the pressure to maintain a particular physique is stronger for women,” said Kelly Brownell, dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. Brownell, an expert in weight bias, says women are valued more for their appearance, and there is less acceptance of variation in body shape and size.
People often make fat jokes, but shaming of obesity is no joke. “People who experience weight discrimination have more daily stressors, physical symptoms and negative emotions,” according to a 2016 study published in Obesity.
There is ample research revealing the negative effects of fat shaming, but what about so-called “fit shaming”?
Seeing how fitness is mostly lauded, it’s absurd to say fit shaming is somehow worse. Yet it’s worth examining to reveal how women constantly have their bodies policed by society, no matter their size or shape.
I spoke to three women who were shamed for being fat, and then, after losing weight and getting in shape, shamed in a different way for being fit.
Sarah Moore is a 29-year-old mother of three in Fort Wayne, Ind. Formerly a stay-at-home mom, she became a personal trainer after losing more than 100 pounds. She remembers the fat-shaming she endured before her weight loss.
“People I knew would say, ‘You have such a pretty face’ as a backhanded compliment,” Moore said. “Another time, at the beach, I wore a bikini, and I heard some teenage boys call me ‘disgusting.'”